In 2011, English Heritage commissioned research to improve understanding of policy changes that could encourage private developers to invest in historic buildings. This was for historic buildings overall, but with a particular focus on industrial heritage, in recognition that industrial buildings are often more likely to be at risk than other structures.
The research, which was undertaken by the property consultancy Colliers International, explores the investment incentives for these buildings and the conditions that facilitate their successful reuse. It is based on information collected through a series of interviews with developers : both those with (and without) experience of historic buildings in general (and industrial heritage in particular), and planners and surveyors. An assessment of the investment performance of listed buildings was also undertaken.
The research has been used by English Heritage to help develop its strategy for Heritage at Risk.
There are three research reports:
1. Summary Report – This summarises the main lessons from the research.
2. Main Report – This assesses issues relating to investment in heritage at risk generally (in particular where the building is industrial).
- Section 1 introduces the main findings of the research.
- Section 2 is an analysis of industrial structures and sites on the Heritage at Risk Register.
- Section 3 summarises issues that are encountered at each stage of the development process and suggests some proposals to counter them.
- Section 4 assesses issues that are particularly encountered by heritage assets of industrial origin.
- Section 5 summarises the initiatives that have been proposed for encouraging investment in assets at risk, and suggested areas the Industrial Heritage at Risk project might focus on.
3. Investment Performance – This is an analysis of the investment performance of listed properties on the International Property Databank (IPD) Annual Index.
This report found that for three, five, 10 and 30 year time periods:
- for commercial property in general, listed buildings have generated a higher level of total return than commercial property overall.
- listed office buildings have generated a higher level of total return than office property overall.
- listed buildings used for industrial purposes have generated a higher level of total return than buildings used for industrial purposes overall.
On the Industrial Heritage at Risk page you can also find out more about the experiences of developers and occupiers of industrial buildings. Examples include industrial buildings which have been converted into hotels, residential use, health facilities, offices and creative industry spaces.